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The Murtadd Vote
The Idol of Today
Author: Joint Fatwa
Source: al-Hayat Media
Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) ordered His slaves to worship and submit to Him alone and commanded
them to disassociate from tāghūt and disbelieve in it.
“Whoever disbelieves in tāghūt and believes in Allāh has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with
no break in it. And Allāh is Hearing and Knowing” (al-Baqarah 256). “And We certainly sent into every
nation a messenger, [saying], ‘Worship Allāh and disassociate from tāghūt’” (an-Nahl 36). The Prophet
(sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) explained this, saying, “Islām has been built upon five matters:
Worshiping Allāh and disbelieving in anything [worshiped] besides Him…” (Reported by Muslim from
ibn ‘Umar).
Tāghūt linguistically is from the Arabic root tagha (or tughyān), meaning to transgress the limits. This
limit – in the context of the Qurān and the Sunnah – is the tawhīd of Allāh, the tāghūt thus being
anyone and anything by which the unique attributes of Allāh and sole right to be worshiped are
transgressed upon. From the pillars of the tawhīd of Allāh is that He alone has the right to legislate.
Hence, the execution of, judgment by, and seeking judgment from any legislation besides His are
major shirk. The evidences for this from the Qurān and the Sunnah are explicit and plenteous.
“Have you not seen those who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, and what was
revealed before you? They wish to seek judgment from tāghūt, while they were commanded to
disbelieve in it; and Shaytān wishes to lead them far astray” (an-Nisā 60). “Do they have ‘partners’
[whom they associate with Allāh] who have legislated for them of a deen that which Allāh has not
permitted?” (ash-Shūrā 21). “Those who do not rule by what Allāh has revealed are indeed the
disbelievers” (al-Māidah 44).
Accordingly, human legislators, man-made laws, modern constitutions, judges who rule thereby, and
rulers who enforce such upon others are all tawāghīt whom the Muslim must disassociate from and
disbelieve in. In this regard, ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullāh) said, “Allāh (ta ‘ālā) informed that anyone
who seeks judgment from or rules by anything other than the Sharī‘ah of Muhammad (sallallāhu
‘alayhi wa sallam) has ruled by tāghūt and sought judgment from it. Tāghūt is anything by which the
slave transgresses the limits through worship, following, or obedience. Thus, the tāghūt of any people
is he whom they seek judgment from other than Allāh and His messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa
sallam), or whom they worship alongside Allāh, or whom they follow without guidance from Allāh, or
whom they obey in what they do not know to be in obedience to Allāh. These are the tawāghīt of the
world; if you were to contemplate them and, at the same time, contemplate the condition of the
people, you would see that most people have turned from the worship of Allāh to the worship of
tāghūt, from seeking judgment from Allāh and His messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to seeking
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judgment from tāghūt, and from obeying and following Allāh and His messenger (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa
sallam), to obeying and following the tāghūt” (I’lam al-Muwaqqi’īn).
Throughout history, legislative tawāghīt existed mainly in the forms of clergies and monarchies, with
their flocks and subjects worshiping them through obedience and following. It was not until
democracy was innovated and practiced by the pagan Greeks and Romans that the commoner
became a participant in legislation itself. The false “gods” thereby grew in number from regime and
clergy members to include all voters of the citizenry, as democracy is “the rule of the people”.
According to this pagan creed, the people are the ultimate judge, all power is theirs, and they alone
have the right to legislate. In modern, representative democracy, the people rule by choosing
delegates who represent them and their whims executively, judicially, and legislatively. This “rule of
the people” is not achievable except by referring to the ballot boxes, which proclaim the people’s
desires. Through the ballot boxes, laws and constitutions are legislated, to be ruled and judged by.
Through the ballot boxes, candidates and nominees are selected to represent the people, to be
obeyed and followed. There is no rule for Allāh (ta‘ālā) in democracy except if His law is in accordance
with the desire of the people.
Thus, whoever votes in the democratic system – whether or not he himself is a candidate or nominee
– has made himself a tāghūt, a rival to Allāh in rule and legislation. Whoever does this, is an apostate
whether he is an open secularist or an alleged “Islamist,” as legislation is only for Allāh and judgment
is His alone, not for the people, nor the constitution of the people, nor the representatives of the
people. Accordingly, the person does not disassociate from the tāghūt of democracy – the “people”
– and disbelieve in it if he has not abandoned the democratic vote.
One of the clear-cut, agreed upon principles of īmān is that to consent to kufr is kufr. Consenting to
kufr encompasses calling to kufr, supporting kufr, resolving to commit kufr, promising to commit kufr,
and committing kufr for any so-called religious or worldly “interest” without being truly coerced into
doing so. If one understands this principle, any shubhah (doubt) produced by the devils from amongst
men – including the Murtadd Brotherhood – will collapse before him. Allāh (ta‘ālā) said, “If you see
those who mockingly delve in Our āyāt, then turn away from them until they change their
conversation” (al-An‘ām 68), and, “It has indeed been revealed to you in the Book that if you hear the
āyāt of Allāh being disbelieved in and mocked, then do not sit with them until they change their
conversation. Indeed, you would otherwise be like them. Indeed Allāh will gather the hypocrites and
disbelievers in Hell all together”(an-Nisā 140).
In these āyāt, Allāh (ta‘ālā) ruled that if a believer sits silently in a gathering in which kufr is committed,
he is then equal to the perpetrators of the kufr. From this āyah, the scholars have derived the principle
that “ar-rida bil-kufr kufr” (consenting to kufr is kufr). If someone apostatizes by merely sitting silently
in a gathering of kufr while claiming to hate the kufr being committed, then what of the one who
actively participates in the kufr? Worse yet, what of the one who actively makes himself a tāghūt – a
rival to Allāh in legislation, judgment, and rule – by voting in the democratic system, thus partaking in
“the rule of the people” and transgressing upon the tawhīd of Allāh! Allāh (ta‘ālā) also said, “Have you
not considered those who practice [major] hypocrisy, saying to their brothers who have disbelieved
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among the people of the Scripture, ‘If you are expelled, we will surely leave with you, and we will
never obey anyone against you; and if you are fought, we will surely aid you.’ But Allāh testifies that
they are liars. If they are expelled, they will not leave with them, and if they are fought, they will not
aid them. And even if they were to aid them, they would surely turn their backs; then they would not
be supported” (al-Hashr 11-12).
In these āyāt, Allāh (ta‘ālā) judged that those who make false promises to aid the kuffār sometime in
the future against the Muslimīn have committed immediate kufr. In other āyāt, He (ta‘ālā) explained
that they commit kufr even if only promising to partially obey the kuffār in kufr, saying, “Indeed, those
who apostatized after guidance had become clear to them – Shaytān enticed them and prolonged
their hope. That is because they said to those who disliked what Allāh sent down, ‘We will obey you
in part of the matter.’ And Allāh knows what they conceal” (Muhammad 25-26).
If they had apostatized by merely doing the aforementioned deed, how much worse of an apostate is
he who makes himself a tāghūt by voting and thereby claiming “the power of the people”? Allāh
(ta‘ālā) ended the story of the hypocrites in Sūrah al-Hashr, saying, “[The hypocrites are] like the
example of Shaytān when he says to man, ‘Disbelieve.’ But when he disbelieves, he says, ‘Indeed, I
am disassociated from you. Indeed, I fear Allāh, Lord of the creation” (al-Hashr 17).
Likewise is the case of the alleged “Islamist” voter, as he delegates someone to commit kufr on his
behalf and in his name, and then ridiculously claims he is innocent of the kufr that his delegate
commits thereafter through his vote! Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) also says, “Have you not seen those
who claim to have believed in what was revealed to you, and what was revealed before you? They
wish to seek judgment from tāghūt, while they were commanded to disbelieve in it; and Shaytān
wishes to lead them far astray” (an-Nisā 60).
In this āyah, Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) negates the īmān of those who merely wish to seek judgment
from tāghūt, never mind those who have actually done so. How much worse then is he who makes
himself a tāghūt, by making ultimate and absolute judgment for himself and all other voters, who
altogether are the tāghūt of any democratic nation? If he claims that he does so only intending “good,”
then he is like the hypocrites mentioned in the aforementioned āyah, as Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā)
describes them thereafter, saying, “So how [will it be] when calamity strikes them because of what
their hands have put forth and then they come to you swearing by Allāh, ‘We intended nothing but
good and concord’” (an-Nisā 62).
Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) also said, “Those who believe fight for the cause of Allāh, and those who
disbelieve fight for the cause of tāghūt. So fight against the awliyā [supporters] of Shaytān. Indeed,
the plot of Shaytān has ever been weak” (an-Nisā 76).
In this āyah, Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā pronounces takfīr upon those who fight for the cause of
tāghūt. How much worse are the tawāghīt themselves for whom the disbelievers fight, the tawāghīt
of democracy being the voters to whom judgment is referred in all fundamental matters. Allāh
(subhānahu wa ta‘ālā also said, “Whoever disbelieves in Allāh after his belief… except for one who is
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forced while his heart is secure in faith. But those who open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is
wrath from Allāh, and for them is a great punishment” (an-Nahl 106).
The mufassirīn reported that this first āyah was revealed regarding ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir (radiyallāhu
‘anhu) and other Muslimīn of Makkah who were severely tortured into cursing the Prophet (sallallāhu
‘alayhi wa sallam) and praising the idols of the mushrikīn. This is the only exception legislated by Allāh
(subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) for someone to commit kufr. As for doing so to secure a worldly interest, then
the next āyah clarifies that such does not exclude the perpetrator from takfīr. “That is because they
preferred the worldly life over the Hereafter and that Allāh does not guide the disbelieving people”
(an-Nahl 107).
Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) also said, “O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the
Christians as awliyā (allies). They are awliyā of one another. Whoever among you takes them as
awliyā, then, indeed, he is one of them. Indeed, Allāh guides not the oppressive people. Yet you see
those in whose hearts is disease hastening to associate with them, saying, ‘We are afraid a misfortune
may strike us.’ But soon Allāh will bring conquest or a decree from Him, and they will become regretful
over what they have been concealing within themselves” (al-Mā’dah 51-52).
In these āyāt, although the hypocrites attempt to justify their major hypocrisy with the fear of the
kuffār gaining the upper hand, Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) does not excuse them because their fear
did not entail coercion according to the limits set by the Sharī‘ah. Accordingly, one who votes in the
democratic system is an apostate, even if he fears that the victory of one candidate or nominee will
lead to the deportation and abuse of Muslimīn, as coercion recognized by the Sharī‘ah in the case of
kufr is unbearable torture, lethal execution, and the kuffār realistically threatening to commit such
torture and execution immediately to the subjugated Muslim, as is manifest in the story of ‘Ammār
ibn Yāsir (radiyallāhu ‘anhu). Fear of deportation and abuse is not coercion. Also, if supporting the
Jews and Christians is apostasy, how much worse is supporting their tawāghīt or oneself becoming a
tāghūt by voting and thus consenting to “the rule of the people” shared by all voters?
Moreover, the obligation upon a person if he is indeed coerced is hijrah; he is not excused for kufr
committed due to coercion as long as he is able to perform hijrah. Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) said,
“Indeed, those [people] whose souls the angels seize while they were wronging themselves – [the
angels] will say, ‘In what condition were you?’ They will say, ‘We were subjugated in the land.’ The
angels will say, ‘Was not the earth of Allāh spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?’ Indeed,
their refuge is Hell – and what a horrible destination it is” (an-Nisā 97).
Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) narrated – as reported by at-Tabarī – that this āyah was revealed
regarding some subjugated Muslimīn of Makkah who concealed their Islām but later increased
mushrik ranks during the battle of Badr until some of these subjugated persons were killed by arrows
shot at them by the Muslim army. Members of the Muslim army then said, “These companions of
ours were Muslimīn, but coerced, so ask forgiveness from Allāh for them.” Then Allāh (subhānahu wa
ta‘ālā) revealed this āyah, indicating those killed were not excused, “except for the subjugated among
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men, women, and children who are unable to escape and know not the path [for travel]. It is those
whom Allāh could pardon, and Allāh is ever Pardoning and Forgiving” (an-Nisā 98-99).
If they were not excused for merely increasing the enemy ranks without actually fighting the Prophet
(sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his companions (radiyallāhu ‘anhum, how much worse than them is
he who makes himself a tāghūt to be obeyed and followed instead of Allāh by voting in the democratic
system! Allāh (tabāraka wa ta‘ālā) also said, “Indeed, for Allāh is the pure Dīn. And those who take
protectors besides Him [claim], ‘We do not worship them except that they bring us closer to Allāh in
position.’ Indeed, Allāh will judge between them concerning that over which they differ. Indeed, Allāh
does not guide he who is a liar and severe disbeliever” (az-Zumar 3).
He (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) also said, "We have indeed destroyed what surrounds you of cities, and We
have diversified the signs that perhaps they might repent. Why then did those whom they worshiped
besides Allāh – intending thereby to draw closer to Him – not aid them? But they indeed failed them.
That was their falsehood and that which they had fabricated" (al-Ahqāf 27-28).
These āyāt indicate that the mushrikīn would commit their shirk seeking a religious “interest” – to get
closer to Allāh (subhānahu wa ta‘ālā) – as they thought that they could not do so except through their
idols, who symbolized their ascetic, charitable, hospitable, and religious ancestors. This good
intention of wanting to come closer to Allāh did not excuse them from takfīr when they committed
various forms of shirk, including seeking intercession from the absent and dead. Likewise, one who
votes and thereby joins the tāghūt of democracy while claiming to support “Islām” is not exempted
from takfīr. These āyāt and others prove that the “Muslim” voter is a murtadd tāghūt […].
Furthermore, if the passive members of the apostate resistance to zakāh were murtaddīn merely for
consenting willingly to the kufr of their tribes without actively fighting the Sahābah (radiyallāhu
‘anhum), how much worse are those apostates who actively join the body of voters who altogether
form the tāghūt for any democratic nation?
In this context, it is important that any murtadd who apostatized by resolving to vote in the
democratic system repent and contemplate the obligation upon him towards its tāghūt, the obligation
upon him being the Millah of Ibrāhīm (‘alayhis-salātu was-salām, as Allāh (subhānahu wa ta’āla) said,
“We revealed to you to follow Millah Ibrāhīm, inclining toward truth; and he was not of the mushrikīn”
(an-Nahl 123).
This Millah was described in other āyāt, including, “There has been for you an excellent example in
Ibrāhīm and those with him, when they said to their people, ‘Indeed, we are disassociated from you
and from whatever you worship besides Allāh. We denounce your kufr. And enmity and animosity
have forever emerged between us and you until you believe in Allāh alone’” (Mumtahanah 4).
Allāh (tabāraka wa ta‘ālā) ordered the Prophet (sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) do the same, in sūrah alKāfirūn, saying, “Say, ‘Yā ayyahul-kāfirūn! I do not worship what you worship. Nor do you worship
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what I worship. Nor do I worship in the manner you worship. Nor do you worship in the manner I
worship. You have your way and I have mine.’”
This last āyah means, “You have your false, corrupt religion of kufr, and I have my true, pure Dīn of
Islām, both of them having nothing to do with each other,” like the āyah, “If they deny you, then say,
‘You have your own deeds and I have mine. You are disassociated from what I do and I am
disassociated from what you do’” (Yūnus 41).
Hence, sūrah al-Kāfirūn was referred to as “the barā’ah from shirk” in various ahādīth and āthār. AbulJawzah (rahimahullāh) (d. 83AH) likewise said, “Read sūrah al-Kāfirūn much and declare your barā’ah
from the kuffār thereby” (Ad-Durr al-Manthur).

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